Um ... no one but the stat geeks/sabermeticians have ever said he is going to be the closer ... and even they mainly say he SHOULD be the closer.
Todd Jones was the closer last season, saved 37 of 43, and was respectable. And except for 1 2 week stretch in May or June, and the last week, was actually lights out other than SO's. He has long been the announced closer in 2007, entering the season.
Many "experts" have suggested Jones is at risk for losing his job as closer, with Zumaya as the next guy. I believe that is wrong for several reasons:
1) Jones has a big contract for last year and this coming seasson ... to be THE closer. He will get every chance to do so, and because of that contract alone, will have a long leash.
2) Leyland is an old school manager, and likes defined roles, and likes EXPERIENCE ... Jones is the current closer, and has lots of experience. Another reason why he will have a long leash.
3) IJones has ZERO value as a setup man. If he is bad enough to lose the closer job, he will have even less value to the team as a setup reliever ... yet has that big contract. Since he will have more value to SDetroit as a closer, unless he is TRULY awful, than as a setup man, and since Rodney and Zumaya are lights out setup men, Jones will get a really long leash ... the 3rd reason he will get a long leash.
4) Zumaya is not even guaranteed to get the closer spot should Jones get hurt or underperform enough to lose the closer spot. Rodney has more experience closing games than does Zumaya, and Leyland may choose to go to the more veteran player, and keep Zumaya in that critical 8th inning role.
Nonetheless, Zumaya has roto value with his likely SO's being high, and a good ERA and Ratio. And as someone who has Jones as 1 closer, I have tried to trade for Zumaya since last July.
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"The lost causes are the ONLY causes worth fighting for."